I love negative feedback!

I love reading it, and as crazy as it sounds, I love receiving it.

Now, dont’ get me wrong – if all the feedback that you are receiving for your products is bad, then you most certainly need to revisit your products, or the business you are in. But if you are getting great reviews in general and only get the occasional bad review, then that is like someone handed you free google ad credits.

Let me tell you why you should not be afraid of bad reviews and how you can use them to your advantage.

First, let me start by saying that when I shop online, especially on Amazon, I always make my final selection based on product reviews. I would read a few good reviews to see if the product helps people solve the same problems that I need it for, and then I will go ahead and read all 1- and 2-star reviews.

Why? Because they help me find out what people don’t like about the product. And if their comlaints repeat and are valid points for me, then I’ll consider buying a different product.

But why negative reviews?

People are an interesting phenomenon. Their minds work in mysterious but often very predictable ways. And if you are familiar with how psychology of buying works, then you can use the way your customers think to your advantage. There is an entire science around that, called behavioral psychology. I am not making this up.

One thing that people are absolutely bad at is telling you what they want. When people want to buy a product, they might have an idea of what they want, but very few can precisely describe what it is that they exactly want.

On the other hand, people know exactly what they DON’T want. And they can describe that with as much details as you want, because we are innately good at that. We can easily describe what bugs us, what are our pains, what we dislike. We are just built that way.

So when I am reading negative reviews, I see exactly what people don’t want and what they don’t like and how the product they are reviewing fails to solve their problems.

And that’s where the gold is.

When clients leave bad reviews, they are telling you exactly what problems they needed to solve and that they couldn’t solve using your product. In other words they are telling you what your product need to have in order for them to buy it.

Which gives you several great opportunities:

  1. It gives you the opportunity to adjust your product so that it can now solve the problems that it previously couldn’t
  2. It gives you the opportunity to explain to the world how your product solves those problems
  3. It gives you the opportunity to show your clients how deeply involved you are with your product and brand and that you care for the well-being of your clients

So by simply borrowing ideas from the bad review and by replying to it, you are already better off from before you received it.

But how exactly do you get the gold out?

Now, consider the following scenario. You sell universal widgets and your best-selling widget has 4.5 our of 5 stars reviews on its product page. And all of a sudden, Dick comes and leaves a 1-star rating review saying that your product sucks because it didn’t fit in the widget-hole he was buying it for, and since you claimed that your widgets are universal, he is now totally disappointed by your product, hence giving you the 1-star review.

Most of the other online sellers I know, would freak out at this point because this review undermined their entire product positioning paradigm by stating that these are not universal widgets any more.

But not me! I would be happy that I got the negative review!


Because now I have a 1-star review that everyone who comes to my product page will read, to see what’s wrong with my product.

1- and 2-star reviews are like magnets – they attract visitors better than discount coupons. And with that 1-star review now I have a focal point on my product page that I could use to my advantage.

So in the scenario above, here’s how I am going to reply to that review.

  1. I will thank Dick for his words and will express my disappointment that the product has failed to help him
  2. I will tell Dick exactly how to use the product in order to fill his widget-hole and point out that he needs one of the other universal widgets that fits that hole, pointing out that it’s not that uncommon for a client to make that mistake (which is not true, Dick is simply bought the wrong product)
  3. I will expand on how great the universal widgets are and how they are the best widgets for solving exactly the problem he has, linking back to other products I want people to see, if relevant. I will also mention some credibility triggers, social proof, testimonials, and anything else that I want others to see
  4. I will point out that we stay behind our products 100% and offer an unbeatable warranty and satisfaction guarantee and will suggest we send Dick the right widget free of charge in attempt to make up for his troubles
  5. I will finish by saying that he is free to contact us with any questions at any time he needs help

And that’s it!

And because I know that people will come read the negative review, I know that they will read my response to it too.

That is how I quickly and painlessly, turned a review over the text of which I had no power of control, into a power marketing tool, the text and the message of which is completely in my power.

And since I addressed all the points in a professional manner, with my clients well-being in mind, I am now not only better off but my clients also believe that my product is great and that Dick is, well …Dick.

And this is how you turn negative reviews to your and your clients’ advantage.